Album: Beaster EP
. . .
With its opening guitar lead leaping out of the end of “JC Auto” like a balm or a salve, “Feeling Better” establishes its essential weirdness before Mould even opens his mouth, as that lead resolves into some power chords with a horn-like synthline sprinting through the music like it’s shocked to even be there, but also offering commentary in the opening verse.
You can walk away
But you can’t forget what was said
And I can run away
Pull the covers over my head
And then the synth disappears as Bob Mould, bassist David Barbe & drummer Malcolm Travis navigate some tricky stop times which lead to the chorus, which alternate sharp chords and screamed lyrics with a soft vocaled pretty part.
Try to get away but I fall back again
I get up off the floor I’m coming back for more
(You need it/ You get some hate
You found it/ But it’s too late)
Try to wear a smile and brush it all aside
I’m starting over now I’ll try to sort it out somehow
(Hope you’re feeling better
I’m not bitter yet/ You’re fading through the years)
After that first chorus, there’s some more tricky band interplay which sets up another verse and chorus, Mould’s heavy and light vocals beginning to get a bit jumbled together as it progresses followed by the gorgeous “hope you’re feeling better” sung against the stop-time power chords, than against the synth hook, itself, and and finally a whole long coda where Mould alternates lines like “Where in the hell do you think you are” and “its time to open up your mind” with the “hope you’re feeling better” refrain over and over and over until all million Moulds are singing on top of each other. It’s weird and fantastic, and actually strikes me in my melancholy area, as Mould’s hope that his ex-lover (ex-bandmate? nah) is feeling better clearly outweighs his anger at them.
One of the ironies of Beaster was that it charted higher than Copper Blue, despite the fact that it was supposedly less accessible. That, of course, was a trick of the light: the word of mouth on Copper Blue had grown enough that the follow-up was always going to do better, so Beaster made it to 130 on the U.S. Billboard album charts. In the U.K., though, Copper Blue had made Sugar into full-blown stars and Beaster charted at #3, the highest any Bob Mould-associated record charted anywhere, with two exceptions: Flip Your Wig went to #1 on the U.K. indie charts in 1985 and 1996’s Bob Mould made #1 on the U.S. Heatseekers chart, whatever in the hell that is.
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